Lunch with Edgar Mitchell

RIP Edgar Mitchell

I am saddened by the death of Edgar Mitchell (Apollo astronaut). One of the highlights of my life so far was having lunch with him in Lake Worth, just the two of us. He blew my mind wide open in a way that I’m still coming to terms with!

He was perceived as a bit of a pseudoscience kook. The reality is that he was an atheist and a scientist and an open minded skeptic who firmly believed that if something happened, there was a natural explanation for it and that science could explain how it was done.

He was also kind and gentle and understood completely why his detractors felt the way they did about him. He didn’t care. He just kept doing what he thought needed to be done. There is a lesson there about not caring what people say and doing your own thing anyway. Very few people have the courage to be wrong like that and humble enough to admit, what they dedicated their lives to was indeed, questionable. Why was he doing it? He truly wanted to know what was real and what wasn’t.

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Dealing with the Trump Bully

How Jeb Bush Should Handle the Bully that is Donald Trump.

At the recent GOP debate, Jeb Bush finally tried to stand up to
Donald Trump. Trump responded, as all bullies do, but insulting the person who
challenged him. Jeb’s response was polite, but his attempt at smiling made him
look like a school boy who had mustered up the courage to challenge his bully
and was doing his best to pretend that the insults didn’t bother him.

What should Jeb! Have done instead? Well, I actually teach how
to stop bullies and Jeb’s approach was a good start but incomplete. To put a
bully in their place and to get to them to stop, you have to remove the reward
they get for being rude. For Trump, you have to not let him gain status from
putting other people down.

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Announcement Dec 2015

Announcement

Posts to this blog will be sporadic in the future.

I started this blog years ago. I love posting here. The problem is that my business, Humanist Learning Systems, is starting to take off. This is great. The problem is that it leaves me with less time to write on topics unrelated to the business.

So, I can no longer commit to writing here regularly. I will still be posting things, when I am moved to and have something to say. But I won’t be doing it regularly.

The good news is that I still have my Happiness thru Humanism blog that I post at twice a week.

You can also join my newsletter and get essays written just for people on my mailing list.

And, if you haven’t already, consider taking one of the courses over at Humanist Learning Systems. There are lots of free courses and some that you have to pay for. But most of my creative energy is being put into creating content for that site.  So please join me there.

Thanks for your support and thanks for your continued support. And again, there will be things posted here on occasion, just not weekly.

Complaining About A Cup

Get a little perspective

1 guy posts a video about a cup and the internet goes berserk.  I think we need a little perspective.

photos of red cups - pointless

I’m not going to post the video. There is a preacher guy who creates crazy videos that are pretty insane in terms of his outrage over what he thinks is persecution of Christians. 1 guy!!!!

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Cracker as a Racial Slur

Cracker as a racial term

This term came up for me today in an online discussion. A lot of people didn’t understand why I was upset by it and that I see it as a derogatory term and rightly so. Apparently a lot of people seem to think it’s just a term black people use for white people to explain our blandness – like a saltine cracker.

Florida Cracker Brand Oranges

The problem is – I live in the epicenter of Florida Cracker culture. So for me, a cracker isn’t just a racial term. It specifically refers to a farmer/settler of the area and their descendants who exploited and who still exploit slave labor for financial gain. It’s impossible to separate out Cracker culture from slavery and the forced removal of the Indian population from the area so that white folk could “settle” the area.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that as a white person living in this area, I benefit from the Cracker settlement of the area. I also have zero problems with black people using the term to negatively describe racist white folk who deserve to be labelled that way. After all crackers still exist. What I am trying to do with this essay is to help my white brethren understand that this isn’t simply a funny term to use to describe really white whites. Understanding WHY it’s an insult when a black person calls you a cracker will help you to understand WHY racial justice is still such an important issue. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be a little less clueless about the struggles our black brothers and sisters face.

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Resist Fear Mongering

Resisting Fear Mongering

Why we must call it out when we see it.

Don't Be Afraid

I was recently defriended on Facebook by a person I really like. The problem was that she had become seduced by fear mongering and I, and others, were challenging her on it and calling her out on it. Mostly because it’s really so unlike her to engage in the promotion of such fear.

Her latest was the fear that a Muslim will become president. Why is this fear mongering? Because, at the moment, there is no Muslim running for president. It’s a non-issue. We aren’t in “danger” of having a Muslim president for at least 5 more years. Probably longer though given that there are so few Muslims holding political office at the moment and it takes time to build up support for a presidential run.

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Independence of Mind Isn’t Enough

Independence of Mind

Freethought, the independence of mind, is central to the quest for peace, but it isn’t enough.

The world needs Humanists and our Perspective

At the end of World War II, artists and intellectuals joined with French dramatist Romain Rolland to declare an independence of mind. Its purpose was to encourage artists to declare independence from the states that used their art for propaganda to promote war, hate and divisiveness.

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Pill Mills & Addiction – we need a different approach

Pill Mill Alternatives

My county has a problem and we seem incapable of dealing with it.

We need a more rational response to the problem of addiction

For a while, FL had a problem with pill mills. These were pain clinics where doctors prescribed heave duty pain meds. The problem was we had a lot of them and people were addicted to the pain meds and if you could afford it, you could get your addiction treated legally. The problem is that even legal drug addiction kills.  At one point 4 people a day in Florida were dying from drug oxycodone overdose.

If Florida was the pill mill capital of the country, my region was the pill mill capital of Florida. In a 2 county area we had 50 pill mills and in my county alone, we had 83 deaths in a single year.  

By 2010, we had decided to shut down the pill mills.  (see: http://www.tbo.com/news/crime/florida-heals-from-pill-mill-epidemic-20140830/)

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What does rational Gun Control Look Like?

What would sane gun laws look like?

With the massacre of the month behind us, I’ve decided to think of what I think would be an ideal set of gun laws.  I felt this was necessary because I find myself advocating for what I think is possible to enact and that’s not anywhere close to what I would ideally like to see happen.

Gun violence

First, let me be clear. I don’t have a problem with most gun owners. I am concerned about people who feel like they need to have an arsenal. It’s not the arsenal that concerns me – it’s the reasons why they feel like they need to have an arsenal that concerns me.

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Reflecting on my Father

Reflections of my father

My dad was an extraordinary man and a lot of the way I think of things is a direct result of his influence on me.

Christopher Shaw - brilliant gentle human being

My dad would not have called himself a Humanist. But he was a good and gentle man in the finest sense of the term. He was also brilliant. And that’s not just me saying that, that was the most common comment we received in condolences and memories we received from his coworkers and friends after his death.

He had a very quick wit and loved to play with words and was definitely an intellectual, which the urban dictionary defines as someone who has found something more interesting than sex and alcohol, but which actually means someone who likes to engage in deep thinking.

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